The OF Blog: Since I seem to have my reviewing mojo back...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Since I seem to have my reviewing mojo back...

I've been enjoying this reading/reviewing challenge that I've taken upon myself recently to cover the 2011 World Fantasy Award Best Novel shortlist and the 2011 National Book Award finalists for Fiction.  While it's too late to think of buying/reading/reviewing most of the other WFA awards, I have been buying and reading more books in the Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young Persons' Literature categories of the National Book Awards.  To date, I have read three from the Young Persons' Literature category (and the other two should arrive by early next week), two from Non-Fiction (currently reading the third; will order the other two next weekend after I get paid), and one from Poetry (one already ordered but may not arrive before the winners are announced and the other three will be ordered next weekend).

So far, some wonderful reads have occurred.  I will try to review a couple of them later this weekend (I have a commissioned review to write for a magazine that's due by Monday, so after that one is completed), likely Thanhha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again, then some combination of Deborah Baker's The Convert, Lauren Redniss' Radioactive, Bruce Smith's Devotions, Gary D. Schmidt's Okay for Now, Albert Marrin's Flesh & Blood So Cheap:  The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy and (if I finish it this weekend) Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve:  How the World Became Modern.  Lots of interesting things to say about each of these books.

Hopefully, some of these books will be of interest to readers here.  Which ones, if any, sound interesting to you and why?


Anonymous said...

Been some great reviews here recently so keep up the good work Larry.

Particularly enjoyed the honesty in your Under Heaven review as I have had the same issue with books adding up to less than the sum of their parts before. Although admittedly Under Heaven was not one of those novels for me.

tim said...

I am really interested in your take on the Greenblatt. His early work was excellent, but his more recent stuff (Will and the Word, Hamlet...) seem to go off the rails into places his research cannot support. That said, I really want The Swerve to be good because Greenblatt can be such a fantastic cultural/art critic when he is able to stay focused.

Lsrry said...




The Swerve has at times (I'm about a third through it) come close to careening off the rails, but so far how he's structured it has been captivating (withholding judgment on his sussing out proto-modernity in the 15th century, though). Interesting that the three non-fiction nominees (Baker, Greenblatt, Redniss) don't use strict chronological ordering of their texts. More later.

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